This paper presents findings from a qualitative study of ten students who engaged in experiential learning of evaluation. A grounded theory approach was used to understand what and how students learn about evaluation through these opportunities. This study is important because there is strong support for practical experiences in teaching evaluation and documented success of the strategy in other fields, yet little empirical research on experiential learning specific to evaluation exists (Trevisan, 2004). Findings suggest that students develop technical skills, soft skills, and learn about evaluation context via practical experiences. In addition, practical experiences help students gain confidence and refine their ideas about who they are as evaluators. Peer learning provides an important source of support for students, and mentorship is also important, although a tricky balance exists between providing enough support and providing sufficient room for autonomy.
University of Minnesota M.A. thesis. April 2014. Major: Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development. Advisor: Jean A. King. 1 computer file (PDF); viii, 92 pages.
Subialka Nowariak, Emily Nicole.
Practical training in evaluation: how students learn by doing.
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